Mistakes for the Better

I’m a bit of a science enthusiast, and seeing new and interesting inventions at work is something I find great joy in. This week was particularly exciting for me as I watched scientists and engineers at SpaceX attempt to land their rocket on a barge, and nearly succeed.

Leaven 1-27-14-59I won’t go into all of the details about why I think it’s such a cool accomplishment, but when you watch the footage, you are struck by the awe of a huge rocket falling out of the sky to land with pinpoint accuracy on a relatively small barge – and then crash because they were going just a bit too fast.

We so often get caught up in success that we forget to celebrate near victories. In science, it’s these near victories that can be the most exciting, as they give you new insights into your project, and help you get just a little bit closer to your goals, making the final victory that much sweeter.

It’s the same for kids. It’s easy to celebrate a perfect test score or an A on a report card, but sometimes it’s the near misses that are most important. A missed spelling word might tell us that we’re forgetting that ‘I comes before E except after C’, at least most of the time. When a child stumbles over a word while reading, it can remind them to keep practicing so they can learn and master more words.

And when they finally master that tricky word, the smile on that child’s face is the real victory.

At The Leaven, we see lots of these little mistakes along the road to learning. But our staff and volunteers see each of these mistakes as a chance for learning, and a tool to be used to help kids master their studies. We know that mistakes happen, and by encouraging and nurturing each student as they learn and grow, we help them learn from each mistake they make.

When we focus on progress, rather than just the end goal, we are better able to help each child truly succeed; and one day at a time, their grades and overall academic performance improve. By building this steady and healthy path to success, we help kids learn to not only achieve their dreams, but also learn to handle the near misses.

We can’t always succeed on the first try, but with hard work and practice, we can achieve amazing things. Helping kids and communities rise takes some time, but the end result is worth all of the bumps along the way.

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